How to create and implement a measurement strategy for your translation projects

There is no exact definition of what a high-quality translation is. In most cases, a translation is considered good or great based on whether it meets all the requirements and expectations of a client. As this definition is subjective, in order to have the most satisfying final translation products, your company need to set a measurement strategy (KPIs) with clear indications.

The indications for a localization project might differ for each company. However, based on our experience in the localization industry, we recommend including some of the following key metrics in the measurement strategy for your translation projects.

1. Delivery time

Does the translation partner deliver the translations in-time, ahead of the deadline or late? To define what “late delivery” is, you should consider two factors:

  • Jobs that are not delivered within the agreed turn-around-time or deadline without prior notice.
  • The threshold for notice is no later than the point when 50% of the TAT (business hours/days) has passed.

 

2. Costs

Are the costs within your budget and as you expected? Are there any additional costs during the localization process?

 

3. Project quality

Language Quality Assessment (LQA) 

To evaluate the quality of a project, your company should establish an LQA form to structure the feedback given by reviewers on the translation quality.

Below is a common LQA form from the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) for your reference. The form covers a wide range of error categories such as spelling, grammar, layout, etc. Each category will be evaluated based on the error severity which is categorized by Minor, Major, and Critical, with weighting figures. For example, if the translation contains two minor errors in Mistranslation, it will generate a score of 2. If you record two major errors, it will be 10 points.

Due to its linguistic nature, the LQA process should be performed by professional linguists. Your company can contact a freelance reviewer to support you on this step.

Pass rate 

You have to decide the total score when a translation is considered as pass or fail. Scores from all segments from the QA metric above are added together to give a total score for the translation. If it is above this predefined threshold, the translation is considered as a “pass”.

The LQA step is usually performed on about 5-10% of the volume of a translation. In case there are numerous translations, evaluating all of them might not be possible for every SMEs, in terms of budget. If this is the case, you can define a specific percentage of translations that can be evaluated based on your financial resources other than the mentioned percentage above.

It is also worth noting that an overall KPI for these translations should be set. How many passed translations it needs to meet the overall KPI? For example, you evaluate 10 translations from a translator and set the KPI that 9/10 of the translations have to pass. If the translator only has 8 passed translation, then overall, he or she doesn’t meet the overall KPI.

The LQAs process should be conducted carefully by senior linguists to accurately evaluate the final translations as well as the quality of your current translation resources. After this step, you will receive insightful information on the commonly-made mistakes, what needs to improve and especially whether to keep or change the resources to guarantee better-quality translation projects in the future.